Monday, July 31, 2006

happy photos, absent video

We purchased a video camera when Jacob was 18 months old -- I was pregnant with Zoo Boy at the time and we just knew that we would want to be capturing both of our boys growing up. I had lots of 30-second snippets on my digital camera, and thought how great it would be to get larger chunks of my kids' lives on film for posterity.

However, it didn't really work out like I thought. While we DID bring the video camera out for special occassions (well, for at least a little while each time), we just didn't grab it very often during regular life. Because who wants to capture the bad moments your kid has? It seemed whenever I did pick up the camera to film, something would happen, Jacob would have a meltdown (and I didn't want THAT presevered forever!), or I would have to put down the camera to try to help him work through something. I felt a little guilty when, beginning work with our RDI consultant in the spring of 2005, she asked for some footage of him from before we started RDI (we started on our own for awhile before we hooked up with our consultant, so he was already looking pretty good by the time she met him). We dug around, but couldn't locate much of anything. We finally did come across a video of Jacob's 3rd birthday, and it became glaringly apparent why we didn't film much back then, even when there weren't emotional fireworks going off.

Imagine if you will an hour's worth of video footage, where the first half hour is comprised of him taking a card out of an envelope, opening it, closing it, putting it back in the envelope, and repeating. Stuff goes on around him while he does this (because the other kids there weren't going to just sit there watching him work the envelopefor an hour), and he's oblivious to it all. Finally I get him to actually open the gift the card came with. It was a pinwheel. The next half hour is Jacob spinning the pinwheel. We turned the camera off after that. Actually, I think my brother fell asleep while filming it....

Our photos are all of a smiling, happy boy. I DO remember him being happy quite a bit. I also remember the opposite quite a bit, but those photos got deleted from the card before they ever made it to the computer in most cases. There aren't many photos of him from the time of The Storm (there just wasn't a single happy moment for him that we felt the desire to capture). Before and after that there are plenty, but even that was in bits and spurts. A dozen at a time from a particularly happy moment.

I'm trying to decide if I regret not having filmed more, captured more of that classic Autistic behavior, documented more of those less-than-ideal moments, kept those disturbing images of faces twisted in dispair. Am I robbing my son of an accurate depiction of his youngest years? How will he feel when he's an adult and looks back on the photos I do have of him from this time? I guess only time will tell. They're gone now, those moments of extreme distress and deep despair and things that gave me nightmares. The challenges we're left with make for much less dramatic footage. The video camera is back on again fairly regularly, but I don't think any of our current footage is going to make it past a documentary director's cutting room floor. Posted by Picasa


At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want you to know that I've just spent the last hour reading your first month!! You're a good writer!
Our stories are SO similar, it's wierd. We are just a little behind you in that we just started RDI (learning about it).
I look forward to following your journey....maybe not ALL tonight, but maybe so!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home